3 SIMPLE tips: How to help someone with Bipolar Disorder?


American author Wendy Mass said “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” - This is something I personally believe in.

What someone is passing through can be a disease, a disorder or a daily struggle. Taking into consideration that people do not speak about any of this at once, it is our duty to be kind at all time. Today I choose to discuss a disorder we occasionally hear about: bipolar disorder

Per the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is defined as a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.  There are four types of bipolar disorder:

  1. Bipolar I disorder
  2. Bipolar II disorder
  3. Cyclothymic Disorder
  4. Others
*** All four types include shifts in moods and energy levels – these can be defined as “Manic episodes” which are episodes of extremely up and energized behavior met with depressive and hopeless episodes.
The exact causes of this complex disorder are still unknown. However, there are certain beliefs that a person’s brain structure and genetics may contribute to having bipolar disorder.
It may take a person a long time before putting up the courage to say: “I am bipolar”. Sadly, many people spend their lives struggling with bipolar in silence. Others like Demi Lovato may eventually speak out about it to spread awareness about the struggles of being bipolar.
Demi Lovato was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2011 after realizing that staying up until 5 am in the morning is something abnormal. However, the successful singer and role model to many young girls around the world learned to cope with this disorder and became an advocate of the disease. Lovato says “If you are struggling today with a mental health condition, you may not be able to see it as clearly right away but please don’t give up – things can get better.”

How can we help someone struggling with bipolar disorder? Below are three simple tips:

  1. Educate yourself about the disorder: Before doing something that can harm the other person instead of helping them, you should learn what bipolar (this article is a great start!). The more you know about this disorder, the more you feel ready to offer your help.
  2. Be positive, patient and understanding: Dealing with bipolar disorder is tiring for everybody. That’s why you should be patient when someone you know has bipolar. Accept the fact that your friend might suddenly feel depressed or sad without a reason. Always say positive things like “you are going to be okay” and “you can do this”, as this will help a lot.
  3. Encourage the person to ask for help: Even though many believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, it is NOT. To seek help means that the person is brave enough to share their struggle. If you encourage the person you care about to ask for professional help, you are telling them that they shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.
Mental health is as serious as physiological health; and Bipolar disorder is widespread enough for us to learn about.
Offering help to someone struggling with bipolar disorder is an extra type of medication that each one of us must do, when needed.  

About the Contributor
- Ziad Azar: “If I can make a difference, even a small one, why shouldn’t I?”

Ziad Azar, at 25 years old is a holder of BA in Mass Media and Communication and an MA in Communication and Journalism.

He’s currently a program manager in ETI, an NGO that works towards integrating and empowering children with visual impairment,

His experience includes: Content contribution for the CLDH (Lebanese Center for Human Rights) and a media/documentary internship with Teach for Lebanon. He is a volunteer in the Koura’s Red Cross Youth Department.